Spotify Quietly Removes Dozens Of Joe Rogan Podcast Episodes

I am guessing that Spotify must be feeling the heat because word has filtered out from a couple of sources that dozen’s of episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience have seemingly disappeared in the last 24 hours. The Huffington Post says over seventy episodes have disappeared:

Some 113 episodes of Rogan’s show have now been removed from Spotify, which is the podcast’s exclusive host, according to data from a website that tracks deleted episodes. (It’s unclear when the approximately 40 other episodes were removed.) That’s just a fraction of the show’s total number of episodes, which stands at around 1,700.

The guests on the episodes taken down on Friday include multiple comedians (like Iliza Shlesinger and Tom Segura), fellow celebrity podcaster Marc Maron, and Vice Media CEO Shane Smith. The previously removed episodes include interviews with far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and white nationalist Stefan Molyneux.

Spotify has been mum on the move, which comes after the company’s leaders spent days supporting the podcast host against an onslaught of criticism from angry artists and subscribers.

While this could be an optics exercise to say “see, we’re doing something”, I am going to guess that this might have something to do with it:

Among Spotify users, 19% said they have already canceled their service — or plan to — over the Rogan uproar, according to a Feb. 1 consumer poll conducted by Forrester Research.

The study also found that 54% of those who use Spotify have no intention of canceling their subscription, while 18.5% said they would considering canceling only if more artists who they like pull their music from the platform. About 8.5% said they thought about canceling their subscription but that Spotify’s features were too important to them.

So if we accept that 19% of people polled have already cancelled their Spotify subscription, that’s not insignificant. Though I will point out that polls should always be treated with a bit of suspicion. So you have to take this with a grain of salt until Spotify’s Q1 numbers come out in a couple of months which will tell the true story. Though if that is even half way accurate, Spotify clearly has a problem. But I would say that this is a bigger problem for Spotify:

Joe Rogan apologized Saturday for the many previous instances in which the host used the n-word on his Spotify podcast.

Rogan, already under fire in recent weeks after medical professionals and musicians decried him for helping spread misinformation on the coronavirus, posted a video on Instagram to address what he described as “the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”

Rogan made the apology in response to a compilation video shared widely on social media this past week showing various moments over 12 years in which Rogan said the n-word on his show. The video was posted by singer India.Arie, who recently removed her catalogue from Spotify in response to Rogan’s “language around race.”

While Rogan argued that the clips were taken out of context, the comedian acknowledged that the video looked “horrible, even to me.” In a caption accompanying the video, Rogan wrote that there was “a lot of s— from the old episodes of the podcast that I wish I hadn’t said, or had said differently.”

And:

Listeners also noted that about 70 episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” were taken off Spotify.

Among the purged content is a 2018 appearance by Gad Saad, a marketing professor who studies behavioral sciences at Concordia University at Montreal. On Twitter, Saad said that, “if memory serves me right,” Rogan had used the n-word, “but it was not in a racist manner notwithstanding the likely minefield.”

Saad said that he did not remember the conversation in full, but that he recalled telling Rogan about a university dean getting fired after recommending a book with the n-word in the title — one, Saad said, that had been written by a Black civil rights activist.

“If you’re using the n-word to describe a title, as told to you by a guest on your show, then maybe Spotify should have the most minimal of functioning brain and say, ‘That doesn’t seem to violate anything,’ ” Saad said in a video. “Actually, in my view, it insults the dignity of Black people to say that they must be so emotionally fragile, that the mention of that word, literally in any context is simply unacceptable.”

Neither Rogan nor Spotify have given a reason for the episodes being pulled.

Now that we’ve gone from COVID mis-information to racism, Spotify really has a big problem on its hands. And simply deleting episodes and acting like the problem doesn’t exist won’t solve that.

One Response to “Spotify Quietly Removes Dozens Of Joe Rogan Podcast Episodes”

  1. […] he pulled his music from Spotify. But I believe that with the revelations over the weekend of Joe Rogan being overtly racist on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, I think Spotify is reaching a point where they are having a rubicon moment. Because having a guy […]

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